Discussion

Kiper: NFL Rookie Rankings

After three weeks, DeAndre Hopkins leads list of top 20 rookies

Updated: September 26, 2013, 10:09 AM ET
By Mel Kiper | ESPN Insider

I'll be putting out my Rookie Rankings every two weeks. But because the NFL regular season is technically played out over 17 weeks, the first version had to be published after Week 1. Suffice to say, the sample size didn't do me any favors, and the guy who put together the best Week 1 -- Eric Reid of the 49ers -- dropped here after some hiccups over the last two weeks. Let me go over the parameters for this again really quickly:

• The rankings reflect play over the whole season, so don't just concentrate on the previous Sunday.
• Positional value matters, but overall performance and impact on the team matter a little more.
• I like to ask: Would this player be a starter on most teams? (I think that hurts QBs some).
• Total snap count matters. Within the context of the position, I am looking for the rate of participation.

With those rules in place, let's jump into the rankings after Week 3.


Hopkins

1. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
He has been a key entity on offense thus far, showcasing terrific hands and the ability to come through when the defense knows he's a likely target. He's playing like a five-year veteran, not a rookie with just three games under his belt. So far, he also has been the perfect complement to Andre Johnson, with 18 catches to Johnson's 25, and 26 targets to Johnson's 35. A couple of other things stick out to me. For one, Hopkins isn't just running in a straight line. He has shown a good diversity in his route running, and is showing some veteran chops. Secondly, he has exactly zero drops so far on 26 targets. When you add that up in the context of a position where it has been tough for rookies to deliver major impact year after year, you have the most impressive rookie to me so far.

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